Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Days Off, Christmas, and Travel (and a Few Outfits)

Okay, I've been off from blogging for several days and I'm back with a vengeance! This is a very picture-heavy post, so I've stacked the outfit stuff near the top and my travel pictures at the bottom. 

On Friday, I got all the presents wrapped. 
Vizzini helped. Mostly, he just crawled inside all the bags.

He also looked very pretty sitting on the bathroom sink.
This year, L and I spent Christmas with his family. They live in Powell River, which is a little fishing and logging town (they have a very stinky paper mill there) on BC's West coast. Click here for a map.

As it takes nearly 6 hours to get there (drive up-Island, wait for the ferry, take the ferry), my travel clothes are strictly for comfort.
My favourite black dress, some funky tights.

Check out the boots!
Are they not the sweetest things? More on them in a bit.

My outerwear:
Hi, everyone!
My purple coat does up with snaps, so it's easy to sit in for the 3-hour drive. I didn't wear the hat or gloves in the car, but the cashmere scarf was awesome for varying my temperature.

Okay, the boots.
In the condition I bought them. Note the heavy green on the brass and the white wax build-up on the leather.
I bought these in a vintage/thrift store for $20. I had intended to get them for L for a Christmas present (I have big feet and can check out shoe size for him). However, they fit me so perfectly, I had to have them.
And please note that they had never been worn. I was told by the guy in the shop that they were dropped off by a man who had closed his store.

Only one of the boots is marked with a brand name inside:
It says "Skagway" - I couldn't find anything about that brand, but based on the style of the boots and the thickness of the leather, I think these are from the 70s. They are OLD.

I cleaned them up with an old towel and my Woly.
Woly was recommended to me by the folks at Fluevog. The white stuff is good for any colour leather, and it softens it, protects it and waterproofs it. Look how nice it cleaned up my boots! I had been considering forking out a large chunk of change for Frye boots (at $400+), but I'm much happier with my vintage Skagways for $20!

Dress (Max Studio), tights (Firenze), boots (vintage 70s, Skagway, thrifted).

We arrived safe and sound just in time for dinner on Christmas Eve. The tree looked lovely.
Actually, I think that picture is of Christmas morning - yup, there are our stockings.

For Christmas, I did this simple red sweater with the red ribbon-y skirt:
Sweater (Ricki's, consignment), skirt (MNG by Mango, consignment).

I got spoiled by L in my stocking:
 New Stephen King, "American Vampire" graphic novel, a book by Ian McEwan, another Kim Harrison book, lots of chocolate (consumed), my Forgotten English calendar for my desk, a bunch of mini vodkas (consumed), a magnet, "Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans" DVD, some Violette candie, and IRN BRU, and a couple of CDs (new Florence + the Machine and Adele).

I also got a new umbrella:
I'll take a better picture of it another time - it's very cool. I'm standing in front of our car and my brother-in-law's truck.

With my mother-in-law:
She's pretty awesome.

On Boxing Day, we came back home. I wore the same black dress, and different tights, but it's basically what I wore for the trip up.
I'm tired and I haven't had a shower.

Today, we met up with Nick and Karen for lunch and a bit of post-Christmas sales with the money I got (from my awesome mother-in-law).
My usual shopping uniform: layered tees, jean skirt, tights, easy walkin' shoes.

My outerwear:
 Note the lack of hat. Bad idea. I got rained on badly, but I did get some awesome footwear in the sales!

I had a WW meeting tonight:
I'm getting rid of this dress. It was itchy and I hate how it looks. I've only worn it once.

My hair went all wonky from the rain. It also got smushed when I had a nap.
Dress (Kenar, thrifted), cardigan (Kensie Girl), boots (Gabor).

Inigo was happy to have us home.
 Aw! Such a cute kitty!

All right, that's the end of the fashion-y pictures. If you're interested in seeing our drive up and down-Island, please feel free to continue. Or not. It's totally up to you! Click on any of the pictures to embiggen them.

The bridge to nowhere:
This is just outside of town, on the highway up-Island. Did you know I live on an island? It's a very big island - click here for a map. I live on the southern tip, in Victoria. Most of Vancouver Island is not populated; most of the towns and cities (Victoria and Nanaimo are the two biggest cities) are on the East coast. It's full of forests, mountains, rivers and lakes. I have never been to the Northern tip of it; in fact, I have never been north of Courtenay/Comox.

There is a treacherous stretch between Victoria and Duncan - the road is called the Malahat. When it's raining, it can be pretty scary. On the right side of this picture, it drops away with cliffs. There is an inlet to the sea at the bottom.
It was very rainy and foggy on the Malahat. This is at about 11am. Not exactly bright out!

The road is cut into the cliffs. The left side of this picture is also cliffs, stretching up higher than you can see.

Trees and scrub have grown up on the sides of the road:
When I was a kid, you could see right across the inlet - in this picture, you can only see the fog bank that's settled in there, through the trees.

It's a long, narrow road:
 And you go nearly 100 km/h on it! Woo! Crazy drivers!

Here's a better look across the inlet.

I'm getting good at taking pictures through the car window.

The trees along the road are all covered in green moss and lichens.
It smells beautiful: very fresh and clean.

Spooky fog bank!
 We could barely see the cars coming towards us! Some of those logging trucks are zooming along very fast.

Traffic was heavy, as it was Christmas Eve.
The highway goes up the East side of the island. There are a lot of farms and homes along it; lots of little towns too.
 Check out the heavy clouds as we passed Duncan:
 I liked this shot:
That's one of the island's dairy farms. My milk comes from there. Moo!

We get glimpses of the small islands that cluster between Vancouver Island and the mainland:
I think that's Denman Island. People live on there - they get to and fro by ferry.

L and I always sing, "Jingle Pot, Jingle Pot, Jingle Pot Road" when we see the signs:
Just outside of Nanaimo now...

And the big stretch of the new highway starts!
You get to go up to 120 km/h on this stretch.

But watch out:
There are all kinds of elk warning signs! I've never seen a deer or elk on this stretch of the highway.

We got to the ferry docks just outside of Courtenay/Comox in plenty of time. Whew! Missing the ferry would have sucked. They only run 4 times a day.
 The mighty Queen of Burnaby! That's a pretty small ferry, actually.

I went for a walk along the beach to kill some time.
I could tell it had been stormy by how far the driftwood and logs had been pushed up the beach.

Some seaweeds and kelp:

The waves were pretty choppy (our ferry ride was quite rocky, but that's something you get used to).
 I saw this awesome hunk of driftwood.
Looks like the stump of a Douglas fir.

Some houses in the distance, along the cove:
 I found a couple of sand-dollars:
They are weird inside, like an alien spaceship:
I liked the contrast of this bit of sea lichen on this one:
 A cool shell:
 A starfish probably made the hole in it - they suck out the guts that way.

I walked along a cedar log in my awesome boots.
Finally, you can see how nice and purple my coat is!

Looking back:
The ferry buildings, the docks and all the cars. That family said hello to me.

I liked how the water puddled around this big log:
I love the sound it makes - a lovely shushing noise as all the pebbles are dragged back and forth in the waves.

This is a piece of bull kelp:
 Looks like a bull-whip, doesn't it?

Check it out - this is the inside of a ferry when you drive on:
Three lanes on either side of the centre (where the staircases and elevators are). When traffic is really heavy, cars can drive up on the ramp above us. That usually only happens in the summer.

Where L and I always hang out and read - the Forward Lounge!
There are multiple lounges on the ferries, and a gift shop and a cafeteria (we usually hit the cafeteria on the way home, because we catch the 7 am ferry - Sunshine Breakfast, yum!).

Now, driving back down-island, you see a few other things. Like this deer fence.
It stretches along about 20 km of highway. At the top of the hill in this picture, you can see a sort of gate - that has curved metal bars that steer the deer to go through it (kind of like a subway stile) so that they don't leap out onto the highway.

More road shots. It's a long, lonely highway at times.
It didn't rain as much coming home, thank goodness!

To the East, you can see some of the interior mountains - they ever have a bit of snow on them! I hear skiing is good this year.
 No travelogue is complete without the gnome!
 He's humongous - see how small the picnic tables are?

Once we see the gnome, we know we're getting close to home again.
Only 103 km to go!

Ladysmith is a tiny town. I keep expecting to see a statue of Pamela Anderson.
She's from Ladysmith.

The last town before we hit the Malahat is Duncan. It's known for totem poles and this gigantic hockey stick.
 Um, yeah.

Are we there yet?
 50 km to go! So close!

But we still have the Malahat:
This is near the summit - you can turn off to look at the scenery (I haven't done that in decades - we usually just want to get where we're going).

Lots of traffic on Boxing Day:
 Another look at the cliffs:
Many of the cliffs have steel netting attached to them, as bits of rock falls off them.

Near Goldstream, a lovely park area:
I hope you enjoyed the trip! Check out here for our other trips up-Island: 

Hope you had a great Christmas! From my (rather squirmy) family to yours!
Happy Holidays!


  1. I really, really DID enjoy the trip! (For you, it must have been like taking it twice - to post so thorough a report!)

  2. Wow - what a journey. Glad you had a good time and those boots - what can I say. Fabulous.

  3. Those shells would make great necklaces...I could so see them somehow around your neck. I love all your tights..especially the ones in the first picture and your MIL is precious. Happy New Year!

  4. Such a wonderful travelogue! I am so envious (in a loving way) of your new boots - they are AWESOME!. They look like Fryes, right? Love your red Christmas look too, and of course the loot : > And the gnome - I will have a nightmare about him, I think : o

    Thanks for sharing your Christmas with us. I love the last pic of your beloved L, V, and I, all together and cozy.

  5. A former co-worker just moved to Powell River. They bought their house sight unseen because they couldn't wait to get out of the flat, boring prairies!
    I love that gnome!

  6. Love those amazing boots they look very well made and at $20 they are a steal. Thank you for that tip on the Woly leather care.

    Welcome back, I bet your cats missed you both!

  7. Everything in your stocking is right up my alley! I loved your travel pictures. We need to get up that way to visit. We always end up going to the desert to see sand and red rock when we travel (we live in Utah) so it would be quite a change. Your new boots are amazing. What a great find!

  8. Look at those adorable kitties. I like your tights!

  9. Kick ass printed tights! Love them! And your red skirt is gorgeous!

  10. Thanks for sharing your trip, I really enjoyed it. I had no idea you lived on an island!

  11. Wow! These posts with little bits about life are the best, the sea urchin star-ship reference was bang-on! and those boots are fabulous - they look like Fryes.

  12. WOW What a post. The new boots are a ridiculous find. I thought they were Fryes at first. I love both of your printed tights look. You remind me that I need a new LBD.

    I think the dress you got rid of was a good idea. It doesn't fit you nearly as well as many of your other pieces. It's really cute in theory, but I am not fond of the proportions.

    Omgomgomgomg I died at that Inigo picture! So freaking cute.

    Your trip looks amazing and beautiful. Thank you for taking the time and effort to write up this post and share it.

  13. Sheila, I've been following your blog for several months now, and I wanted to say hi from Atlanta. I was in Powell River years ago for the Kathaumixw Festival, and it's one of my favorite parts of the world. Your trip (and your life) look delightful! Cheers!

  14. Those boots are magnificent! Love seeing your pictures of the Island. :-) Glad you had such a nice Christmas!

  15. Thank you for such a wonderful photo-trip! I've never been to the West Coast, I'd like to visit Vancouver some day. But your photos make me feel like I already know a good deal about that beautiful countryside.

    Nice outfits also! When I saw the photo of your "new" boots, my first thought was - Fry. They look pretty much alike. What a lucky found! Congratulations!

  16. oh Sheila, i so love your travel posts!! those ferries are pretty trippy, and what spooky fog! i love those wildlife fences and underpasses, i wish they would make some here in California.

    'Jingle Pot..." heehee! Northeast of us there is an exit for "Adobe Pena". Every time we pass it my husband says, in a stentorian tone, "Adobe Pena - The Clay Penis" and we bust up! somehow that makes me think of your giant gnome.....

    Happy Holidays!!!! steph

  17. You got the Adele CD in your stocking... lucky Sheila!
    I loved that last family picture....

  18. Holy cow! I've been silently blog-stalking you for about a year and never realized you were from Victoria! That's crazy! Me too!
    Anyway, maybe I'll stop silently lurking. I love your style and your use of colour. Those boots are really awesome too. Happy New Year!

  19. I so really like your take a trip posts!! those ferry boats are very trippy, and what crazy fog! i really like those creatures walls and underpasses, i wish they would create some here in Florida.

  20. Thanks for taking us on your trip! Love Vizzini, the fun tights, the cool boots (what a deal!), and your beach excursion in December, heheheh.

    Hope you had a lovely Christmas! (Catching up on older posts is more dated around the holidays. I should remember that next year, LOL!)

  21. Those shells would make great necklaces...I could so see them somehow around your neck. I love all your tights..especially the ones in the first picture and your MIL is precious. Happy New Year!

  22. Thanks so much for the travelogue photos! I somehow missed the tidbit that you're from Victoria--lucky you! I have only been there once, in 1997, but I've never forgotten a moment of that wonderful trip. We drove up the coast a bit, too. Wow, such a long time ago...

  23. Thank you for such a amazing photo-trip! I've never been to the Western Shore, I'd like to check out Calgary some day. But your images create me experience like I already know plenty about that amazing country side. Nice clothing also! When I saw the picture of your "new" footwear, my first believed was - Fry. They look fairly much as well. What a fortunate found!


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